Smart Energy Grid Services

Contact Information

Gary Ragsdale, Ph.D.
Staff Engineer
Security & Energy Systems
(210) 522-3743

image of equipment for advanced metering infrastructure evaluation and integration

Click image for more information 
Advanced metering infrastructure evaluation and integration

image of Smart Energy Grid meter security testing

Click image for more information 
Smart Energy Grid meter security testing

image of flyers that illustrate SwRI's experience in the systems development lifecycle

SwRI experience covers the entire systems development lifecycle from business process reengineering through requirements, design, development, testing, and deployment.

The need for better management of electric, natural gas, and water distribution is addressed by the Smart Energy Grid and accomplished through the use of a modern information infrastructure. The information infrastructure provides a common means for the exchange of information between the energy producer (such as an electricity and natural gas utility) and a residence or business. The information infrastructure:

  • Collects energy consumption information
  • Shares provider rate information
  • Controls energy consumer's intelligent appliances like:
    • HVAC
    • Dishwashers
    • Hot water heaters
  • Executes point of sale transactions for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)
  • Purchases energy from:
    • Solar panels
    • Wind turbines
    • Other energy sources

Smart Energy Grid is evolving from its roots in Automated Meter Reading (AMR) and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) into an Internet-like, information infrastructure providing support for:

  • Demand-response management of consumer power usage
  • E-commerce for enhancing customer relationships
  • Dispatchable power generation for solar panels, and wind turbines
  • Location-independent, point-of-sale transactional services for plug-in electric vehicles

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) provides the following services relevant to the Smart Energy Grid:

  • Trade studies and analyses to determine "best-fit" solutions based on agency/organization/company goals and resources
  • Comprehensive and synergistic wide area network (WAN) planning, design, implementation and integration services
  • Facilities, laboratories, and skilled engineering services for prototyping and demonstrating unique technological solutions
  • Independent verification and validation testing of proposed technical implementations
  • Data warehousing/ data storage solutions with integrated data discovery, data analysis and reporting tools
  • Development and implementation of enterprise-level monitoring, analysis, control and communication capability
  • Communications infrastructure security
  • Smart Energy Grid/advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) penetration testing
  • Embedded hardware and software design, including design-for-security
  • Embedded Security

Smart Energy Grid Information Infrastructure Process Services

Smart Energy Grid development starts with the formulation of a comprehensive, multi-year technology investment plan. SwRI's planning processes bring together stakeholders throughout the client's organization to produce an information infrastructure plan that organizes a broad spectrum of technical, business, and operational goals into vision for the future of the Smart Energy Grid. SwRI facilitates smart grid planning process by:

  • Defining the client's Smart Grid requirements and business goal
  • Developing a consensus-based business vision
  • Developing a vision-enabling system architecture design
  • Creating a conceptual design that satisfies essential requirements and goals
  • Performing trade-off and cost-benefit analyses to determine the best overall technical solutions
  • Defining a phased implementation approach with established implementation milestones and measurable performance goals
  • Compiling a detailed business plan incorporating all of the process findings and recommendations
  • Compiling a business plan containing:
    • Capital forecast
    • Operating expense forecast
    • Cost-benefit forecast

Smart Energy Grid Information Infrastructure Procurement Process Service

As an independent, non-profit research and development foundation, SwRI can be contracted to evaluate competing Smart Energy Grid proposals. SwRI supports the Smart Grid procurement process by:

  • Translating business goals, requirements, architectures, and conceptual designs into request for proposal documents
  • Defining requirements-based proposal evaluation criteria
  • Providing independent, third-party proposal evaluation
  • Producing a short-list of recommended suppliers
  • Developing implementation plans, drawings, test procedures, and training materials
image of Smart Energy Grid Integration and Evaluation Laboratory

Click image for more information 
Smart Energy Grid Integration and Evaluation Laboratory

Image: Smart Energy Grid Architecture Planning, Procurement, and Implementation

Click image for more information 
Smart Energy Grid Architecture Planning, Procurement, and Implementation (click image for more information)

Smart Energy Grid Enterprise System Services

SwRI experience includes the entire systems development lifecycle from business process reengineering through requirements, design, development, testing, and deployment. SwRI is proud to announce that the software engineering organizations within the Automation and Data Systems Division have been independently appraised at Carnegie Melon's Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Capability Maturity Model® Integration (CMMI®) Capability Level 5. This rating is difficult to achieve and is not widely possessed.

SwRI contributes to the Smart Grid enterprise system services through the application of the following technologies:

  • Object-oriented design and implementation
  • Multi-tier information systems
  • Enterprise security technologies
  • Presentation/interface layers
  • Database/data warehouse technologies
  • Innovative system/software lifecycles
  • Business process Modeling/reengineering
  • Requirements definition and management
  • Architecture design
  • Encryption and data security technologies
  • Software functional and performance testing
  • Independent verification and validation (IV&V)
  • Turn key system development
  • Systems and legacy integration

Smart Energy Grid Information Infrastructure Implementation Services

SwRI's extensive experience as a multi-discipline research and development foundation provides the technical depth and project management maturity for the implementation of sophisticated Smart Energy Grid information infrastructures. SwRI enhances the Smart Grid implementation process by:

  • Performing independent integration, validation, and testing of vendor systems and components
  • Designing and implementing data warehousing/data storage solutions
  • Developing and integrating network and data monitoring, analysis, and control features
  • Testing standards compliance and interoperability assessment testing of competitor's Smart Grid components such as:
    • Wired and wireless communication protocols
    • Network switching and routing protocols
    • Smart Energy Grid enterprise applications and appliances
  • Performing security testing and vulnerability analysis of:
    • Wired and wireless communications protocol vulnerability assessments
    • Human-machine interface vulnerability assessments
    • Trusted computing platform security testing
    • Encryption and public key infrastructure vulnerability assessments
    • Smart meter embedded computing electronics and firmware vulnerability assessments
  • Performing security risk assessment and vulnerability analysis of deployment concepts and architectures for Smart Grid systems
  • Developing custom embedded computing electronics and embedded firmware as needed to satisfy essential Smart Grid requirements not satisfied by off-the-shelf components
  • Developing custom enterprise "back-office" applications and data bases for processing information and managing Smart Energy Grid information infrastructure

Related Terminology

smart energy grid  •  smart grid  •  smart meter  •  advanced metering infrastructure  •  communications architecture design  •  security testing  •  technology trade studies  •  vulnerability analysis  •  information infrastructure

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.